Homeland Security Plans Aggressive Stance on Illegal Immigration
Agency wants to prosecute parents who illegally bring kids to US
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2017 4:47 AM CST
Updated Feb 20, 2017 6:21 AM CST
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at a home in Atlanta, during a targeted enforcement operation aimed at immigration fugitives.   (Bryan Cox/ICE via AP)
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(Newser) – "The surge of immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability," Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly writes in sweeping new guidelines on immigration policy. According to draft guidelines seen by the Washington Post, Kelly plans to hire 10,000 more enforcement agents and 5,000 Border Patrol officers, speed up deportation hearings, prioritize more people for immediate removal, and prosecute parents who pay to have their children smuggled into the US. Kelly's guidelines also call for Customs and Border Protection to "immediately begin planning, design, construction, and maintenance of a wall," the AP reports.

The guidelines, which also enlist local law enforcement personnel to help with immigration arrests, are still awaiting White House approval. "The White House has raised objections to some aspects of these memos and we are working with DHS to finalize the policy," an administration official tells NBC News, adding that they're not going to "litigate this in the open." Critics are calling the proposals "draconian" and "inhumane," especially the plan to prosecute parents who pay smugglers to bring minors across the border. USA Today, however, notes that the guidelines don't include any changes to Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals plan, which Trump recently said he would "show great heart" toward.

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